Home > Trinity 1-5 > Your Father is Merciful–trinity 4 sermon–presentation of augsburg confession

Your Father is Merciful–trinity 4 sermon–presentation of augsburg confession


ecce-homo-1515.jpgFourth Sunday after Trinity/ Presentation of the Augsburg -Confession

St. Peter Lutheran Church

St. Luke 6:36-42

Jesu juva!



Oh, how great is your compassion

Faithful Father, God of grace,

That with all our fallen race,

In our depth of degradation

You had mercy so that we

Might be saved eternally.

 Johann Olearius(1611-1684)



Christians, your Father is merciful.  He is the God of grace, the God of unspeakably great compassion. He looked on human beings and saw how low we had sunk, how we were evil beyond description, inexcusable and rightly damned.


And He showed these rebels against Him mercy.


“Be merciful as Your Father is merciful.”

Jesus preached this sermon to His disciples. And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”  (Luke 6: 20)


The disciples of Jesus, not just the twelve apostles but “a great number” were mixed together with a great multitude of people from all over.  They had come to hear Jesus.


They had come also to be cured of diseases by Jesus.  And in the sight of both disciples and those who did not believe, Jesus healed the sick.  He cast demons out of people.  Disciples and unbelievers both looked on the mercy and compassion of the Father.  They heard the Father’s mercy with their ears.


Jesus is the mercy of the Father.  God’s only Son is in our flesh and bone.  God is with us, not rejecting us for our filth and sin, but baptized into it.  Plunged into it.


When you see Jesus, you are seeing the mercy of God the Father.  We provoked God, but instead of cursing us He became one of us.  The Son of God became a man to make men sons of God.


The Son of God preaches to you Be merciful as your Father is merciful.  He doesn’t say “My Father.”  He says, “Your Father,” because those who are Jesus’ disciples have God the Father for their Father and God the Son for their brother.  Those who do not believe in Jesus have the devil for their father.  But those who believe in Jesus have Jesus as their own.   Jesus and all that He has is yours, a gift given by the Father to sinners.


Be merciful as your Father is merciful.  But how is the Father merciful?  The father of lies has been hard at work in the church since the time of the apostles to destroy the church from within by making the Father in heaven’s mercy empty, making it mercy in name only.


That’s why it has been necessary for 2000 years for the Church to confess what the Father’s mercy really is, who Jesus really is and what He has done.  It’s because there are always many gathered where Jesus preaches who are not disciples, that is, believers in Christ, and therefore are not really His Church.


One of these confessions we confess every week even though it comes from the 4th century—the Nicene Creed.  It was formulated to confess against false teachers who taught a false mercy of the Father within God’s church.  The said that the mercy of the Father was that He sent His Son into our flesh, but that the Son of God was not one substance with the Father.  He was a great being, but a lesser being than God the Father.  Against this falsification of God’s mercy the true Church of Christ confessed that the Son is God of God, light of light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father…


To many people at the time this seemed like an unnecessary conflict.  The Church was full of turmoil over it for decades, and even after the creed was drawn up, the Arians who denied that Jesus is true God continued to preach their heresy and make many converts.


But the Church can’t afford to live and let live while people believe different things about God’s mercy.  Only the true mercy of God saves.  Only the true Jesus saves.


The devil has tirelessly worked to have the Christian Church believe and teach that God’s mercy is a partial mercy.  In one form or another the devil constantly pushes a false gospel under the name “Christian.”  And it always amounts to this—God has shown great mercy, but in order for you to be saved you must do something to receive it, or you must add something to it.


That work of the devil is very active in the church today.  The devil works tirelessly in this congregation to have us preach and confess that God has been merciful in Christ, but that mercy doesn’t benefit you unless you exercise your will to choose Jesus or unless you have more than just your baptism to rely on, but instead a transformation where you became dedicated to obeying Jesus.


When the Reformation of the Church began, the whole church was captive to this falsification of the gospel.  There were people who believed and moments here and there where the Father’s mercy was proclaimed in truth.  But the doctrine of the church opposed the mercy of God.


On June 25th, 1530, some Lutheran rulers had to stand in front of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and explain why they were causing trouble and making divisions in the church with their teaching.  Luther could not be at this huge convention of noblemen because he was under a death sentence.  So without Luther, less gifted men who held the same faith wrote up the Augsburg Confession to be read to explain what they taught.


And the Augsburg Confession was written with the purpose of confessing what the true mercy of God is.


[Our churches] teach that since the fall of Adam all men…are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God, without trust in God, and with [sinful desires]; and that this disease…of origin is truly sin, even now condemning and bringing eternal death upon those not born again through Baptism and the Holy Ghost.


Also they teach that…the Son of God, did assume the human nature…truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, that He might reconcile the Father unto us, and be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men…


Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who…has made satisfaction for our sins.  This faith God [counts] as righteousness in His sight.


That we may obtain this faith, the Ministry of Teaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments was instituted.  For through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Ghost is given, who works faith, when and where it pleases God, in them that hear the Gospel…


They were confessing that the mercy of God is our whole salvation.  Human beings are born completely and utterly corrupt and dead to anything good.


However God has become man, died for our sins, and reconciled God to us.  Whoever believes that God is merciful to him because of Christ is justified, that is, counted righteous.


But this faith is not an action that human beings originate.  Human beings are dead and wicked.  The Holy Spirit alone must work faith.


The Lutherans were criticized for causing divisions with their teaching.




AC History and quote




The text does not say that our forgiving saves us.


It does not say that authorities should not judge.

Parents must discipline their children.

            Pastors must judge doctrine and rebuke sinners.


It says that we should not pronounce final judgment on enemies or brothers.

            We then would be denying that our own righteousness is really sin.

Romans 2:1–When you judge another and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?  And that’s what we do: you may be a fornicator, but in God’s sight my righteousness is also filthy rags, because I have not kept the 6th commandment in my heart even when I’ve kept it outwardly.


There are callings that are required to judge in the stead of God–parent, ruler, pastor. 


But privately we only are able to see our brother (or enemy) correctly when we see them through the mercy of the Father–through Jesus, who became incarnate and died for their sins.

We see them rightly when we see that them as those whose death God has no pleasure in but instead those for whom Christ’s blood was shed.

It is not then for us to condemn them, though we may recognize their sin as sin and their false belief as false belief.  But even if they do us harm we have no right to judge them as anything other than a person for whom Christ died and wills to count righteous and give eternal life.

This is why assassinating friends or enemies with gossip, killing them with hatred and scorn, and stealing from them by laziness, or stinginess is incompatible with being a Christian.  We have no merit of our own and no ground that would permit us to judge and condemn another person.  The minute we  do so we are no longer acting out of faith in Christ.  Because faith in Christ is the assurance that we have no righteousness to bring to God whatsoever, only sin, but that God counts us righteous on the basis of Christ’s work only.

Your Father is merciful; He gave His Son not to save you in part, but simply to save you.  He does not judge you, because He judged Your sins in His Son.  He does not condemn you, but declares you innocent in Christ. 


Showing mercy to those who sin against you is a confession in actions that God no longer counts your sins against you. When you are assured that you have been forgiven every sin you have or will commit through the grace of Jesus, the assurance He wishes to give through His Word, You will extend grace to those who repay your kindness with evil.  Because this is how the father treated us when we had become a stench in his nostrils.

You cannot outdo God in showing mercy: with the measure you use it will be measured to you again



The peace of God, which passes understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.



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